Michael Forman

Michael Forman
Author, Singer, Actor, Photographer. This is where I scratch out things between writing books.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Programming Webpages for Mobile Devices and Computers

What a nightmare!! How do you write a webpage that looks equally good on a big screen, a small screen viewed in a vertical layout or a small screen held in a horizontal format? It's just crazy!
The Changing Webpage

When I began writing webpages in 1999, websites were viewed on computers only. Computer screens came from TV screens so were in the 3:4 format and viewed horizontally only. From a website developer's standpoint, all one to do was set up a computer screen to match what most people used at home and develop away, oh yes, and down-teching the website two-steps to cope with 33-56k modems and people who weren't making regular updates with their hard and software. Some were using browsers like Netscape and Internet Explorer.

But life changed for the good old webpage. Electronic devices such as phone and tablets took over, destroying all the hard work a programmer puts into past websites!

Don't read me wrong, I am useless when it comes to understanding code. I don't write much of it, hardly any at all. I write books and blogs. Most of what I do with code today is tinkering with something someone else has written and inserting my stuff in between key lines. That makes me pretty dangerous. I rely heavily on the Wordpress framework to do 95 percent of the formatting for me, dealing with issues that arise specifically from viewing the site one so many devices. As it is, the system isn't entirely perfect but it's far more than I could achieve with what I know or could keep up with.

Flip the phone sideways and Wordpress resets the site. The text and frames automatically change to suit. If something doesn't fit or look right, WP reassigns an entirely new position for it that makes sense to a browsing visitor. Menus are condensed, advertisements are resized, the damn thing presents the best looking version of the site no matter what the viewer views it with. The other thing is, WP updates itself as developers overcome newly arising issue. I could NEVER do all that and find the time to write anything else.

Flash vs JAVA

The one thing mobile devices suck at is Flash... and many sites have Flash in them. Videos, buttons, sound files. What it means to most of us is that Flash components are seen on computers - a blank space appears on tablets or phones. Four days ago I installed a clock plug-in on the site. It worked fine in Chrome on the laptop but didn't work on my Android device. All it showed was a grey square and a note to say the SWF-file wasn't supported. Consequently, I looked for a JAVA-only version of the clock to replace it. BINGO! It shows everywhere, no problem!

That's why I like Wordpress. Someone had encountered it before and made an alternative. All I had to do was know what to look for. Flash is out and Java is in. I don't expect this to be the case forever but for now it's an issue worth considering.

Wordpress and Blogger.

So you may be asking, why talk about Wordpress when clearly you're using blogger too!

Hedging my bets. You never know when it comes to the internet. Five years from now it'll all be different again. Fifteen years ago there wasn't a Wordpress. My blogging was done on a site called MySpace. One day I received a note stating that all would be lost unless I migrated everything to Wordpress. Who knows what the future brings?

In reality, Blogger indexes pages on Google sooner. The mfp.com.au/angelwanderer WP site will take up to three months to have a new page be indexed by Google! It's not because it's WP, it's something to do with the relationship between Blogger and Google. They are distant cousins or something. Either they prioritize Blogger or they slow the indexing down for everyone else. I think it's a bit of both.

Before you ask and then suggest: My WP site has automatic indexing code built-within the system. When a new post/page goes out, a little bit of information is sent to Google and Bing to let them know that the page exists. Google would find it eventually but the code arranges to have it done sooner. There's also a well-laid out XML link map to appeal to search engines and make the site look mathematically sexy.

Indexing isn't as easy as it used to be. Once upon a time, all you needed was a nice looking page and some decent tags attached to it. Not now! What a site needs is 'relevance' identity, which doesn't come from it's own writer, it comes from other content writers who point their sites towards it. You get a solid point for the referral but the site's content matters more. Link building counts but relevance building matters more. The ir content must make sense to yours. It's no good shoving your links on friend's sites wither, the system seems to know a dodgy-looking link chain. The algorithms driving the indexing engines are highly intelligent and go deep into each site. If the link doesn't look right to them, you get a point taken off.

There's no tricking the system anymore.

There is one way to jump ahead - pay for it! Yep, you can buy temporary data real estate, just scroll to the bottom of the Google page and look for advertising. The more you pay, the quicker and higher up the ranking you go. The downside is that once you stop paying, you drop in ranking!

One main benefit to gain from paying to be indexed is the web-of-linking that'll occur sooner (if done right) than if you didn't. While the rank is high, more offers to link share should be offered. Grabbing as many-relevance-link opportunities at this stage will be a benefit later, should you decide to stop handing Google so much cash.

Author's don't make enough to pay for a high ranking system. We have to use something else to make it happen. Have a look around the web. The only authors paying big bucks for advertising today are the one's teaching authors how to write and succeed in writing. There's more money in giving seminars about writing than doing any of it! For those not doing this, were working out better ways to get our message out. Writing sites and blogs like these will help forge a strong spirit in the literary world.


SEETHINGS novel by Michael Forman
“Mike’s writing has you in the room from the outset. You are meeting characters left right and centre and then bang –‘it’ is here. He takes you on a vengeful, aggressive journey…” -Michael M Roleystone